Senator, Republic of the Philippines
With her position in the Upper House as one of only two members of the Senate Minority and the only opposition senator elected in 2022, Senator Risa Hontiveros could understandably give up the fight—if she were not made of sterner stuff. But she is. So much so that former opposition party standard bearer Leni Robredo passed on the torch of leadership to Hontiveros with complete trust and confidence.
Hontiveros has proven herself in many adversities in her political career. She co-authored the Reproductive Health Bill together with Senator Edsel Lagman. She has pushed the causes of women empowerment, child protection and gender equality, contentious issues that many politicians dare not touch. Through it all, Hontiveros earned her reputation as a staunch advocate and a fierce fighter.
“A continuing challenge is how we could broaden and strengthen the opposition to elect more opposition senators in [the midterm elections in] 2025 and to contest the Presidency in 2028,” she says of the current situation. “It is also currently a challenge to be only one of the two members of the Minority in the Senate, not just politically, but also practically. [But] we are constantly addressing this by building a bigger tent among different parties, civil society organisations, individuals and movements that share similar values and beliefs. We are in regular talks with like-minded individuals. Still, we would want to start conversations with those who may not necessarily be in the opposition per se but also those we can make common cause with,” Hontiveros responds to her current political challenge.
Today, Hontiveros continues to serve as the chairperson of the Philippine Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.